Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Tuesday hinted at increasing rail fares from 7 to 8 percent, following the new raise in fuel prices and financial crunch in the department. Addressing a press conference here at Railways Headquarters, Khawaja Saad Rafique said that diesel bill of Pakistan Railways had already reached to Rs 38 billion and the department was not able to afford additional Rs 5 billion in the head of increased fuel prices announced by the government this weekend. He said that railways was facing financial crunch due to floods which disturbed the budget, leaving damages of billions of rupees, adding that railways needed immediate financial injection of Rs 40 billion to meet pension and salaries shortfall and the federal government would be requested next week in this regard. He further said that salaries of railway employees were being paid in five schedules on 1, 5, 10, 15 and 25 dates of every month while this month, adding that two schedules of 15 and 25 dates could not be followed. However, Rs 930 million had been released while the remaining amount of Rs 310 million would be paid tomorrow to clear all salaries”, he added. The minister said that railways was trying to find its own means of earning, agricultural land would be given on short term lease, hoping that branding initiative would also generate income in coming days. He claimed that no one had bothered to fully read the Supreme Court’s order and some 2,600 shops along its network across the country were not leased. As a result of which, it caused a loss of millions to the railways. He said that with the relaxation secured from the top court, tenders had been invited for leasing out these shops and he hoped that they would soon be given on rent. Talking on political scenario, he said that no doubt, inflation was unbearable but these first eight months of government were of ‘fire fighting’, adding that the country needed to do more to avoid default. He hoped that situation would be improved with the arrival of oil from Russia. All civilized nations close markets at 6:00 pm, but here in Pakistan, the scenario was quit different, he said and advised that the nation would have to change its habits for progress and prosperity of the country.